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A Microsoft Ads Manager Checklist

We shared our tricks and tips on getting the most out of your Microsoft Ads manager in this handy checklist.

The power of PPC (Pay Per Click) management is outstanding. But if you’re not including Microsoft Advertising in that mix, you’re missing out

Why? Because the demographics and people that you can target on Microsoft is not something to be missed out on.

Let's break it down for you:

  • Nearly three-quarters of Bing users are over the age of 35. If your target audience is 35+, this is the search network you’re most likely to reach them on.

  • Half of this network has an income of $75,000 or over. In fact, nearly 1 third of the audience has a household income of over $100,000.

  • Not only do users tend to have a higher income, but they also spend on average 22% more on purchases through Bing than any other search engine.

  • Generally, Microsoft faces less competition on its keywords. This helps lower your CPC (cost-per-click), which means you’re paying less to target a demographic with more disposable income.

  • In fact, CPC has been found to be between 32.5% and 59.2% cheaper than Google Ads.

Although it was formerly known as Bing Ads, Microsoft Advertising isn’t restricted to just Bing these days.

Now, Microsoft actually runs three separate search networks through their advertising, including Bing, Yahoo and AOL. So when you advertise with Microsoft, you’re actually getting access to a whole host of different audiences.

Advertising with Microsoft is no brainer. All you need now is the perfect Microsoft Ads manager to maximise your success.

bing user stats

Wait, what happened to Bing Ads?

Bing Ads still exists, it just rebranded itself to Microsoft Ads earlier this year.

Why? Because people already know the name Microsoft. Because they want to demonstrate that they offer more than search network advertising, but utilise AI (artificial intelligence) to give businesses a range of options to take them further.

Their two biggest offerings? The Microsoft Audience Network and Sponsored Products.

Launched last year, the Microsoft Audience Network is an advertising display network that offers AI-powered audience targeting and customer intent.

Unlike other platforms, the Microsoft Audience Network gathers data from Microsoft-owned sources like Outlook, Skype and LinkedIn users, which makes targeting particularly intelligent. This network also promises a wider net, targeting 63 million search users that Google can’t reach.

microsfot hq

Currently available in the US, Sponsored Products are a way to drive more traffic to specific product pages to help increase conversions. It does this by giving more visibility to the top products in shopping campaigns. In addition, Microsoft has also added features such as viewable impressions and an image upload and management tool to ensure the products are always shown in their best light.

At the time of writing (September 2019) Sponsored Products is still in beta. So, more features and in-depth information about how it can boost shopping campaigns are expected to be added in the coming months.

Do you need an agency or a tool?

In order to find the best Microsoft Ads manager, there is one essential question you must answer.

Do you need an agency or a tool?

There’s fundamentally no right or wrong answer here. All of it depends on your business and what you want from your Microsoft advertising.

With a PPC agency, someone will manage your entire campaigns for you. This means that you’re not dedicating hours of valuable time learning about how to manage your campaigns by yourself. You’re leaving it to the experts who will take care of the whole thing.

However, if you don’t want to surrender control of your accounts, a PPC management tool may be the better option. They allow you to remain in control of your accounts and prevent you from paying agency prices. And by choosing the right PPC management tool, you’ll be able to save time managing and optimising your campaigns by yourself.

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Finding the right Microsoft Ads agency

You can’t just search for “Microsoft Ads Agency” and go with the first result that comes up.

Sure, it might be an accidental match made in heaven. But considering that you’re giving this agency complete control over your Microsoft Ads campaigns, that decision shouldn’t come lightly.

Here’s a checklist of essential questions to answer to make sure you're hiring the right Microsoft Ads manager for your business.

agency checklist

1. What experience do they have?

Would you hire someone without knowing what experience they had?

You wouldn’t. It’s just not practical. You need to know their background to make sure that they know what they’re doing, that they’re capable of handling the job, and that they have practical knowledge and expertise from doing it before.

Your PPC management agency is no exception. So, ask what experience they have and get case studies of their past work.

When you do this, make sure the case studies are relevant to your business.

Take Sandra for example, who is a wedding photographer in Cambridge. She wants to use Microsoft advertising to attract more high-value clients that would need her photography services for their extravagant weddings.

Because Sandra is often away from her office, she doesn’t have the time to manage her PPC advertising by herself. Seeking out a local agency, she asked for past experience and was wowed with case studies of how they’ve helped huge retail businesses make £500,000 from their latest campaigns.

This is great news! But Sandra’s business isn’t like theirs. It doesn’t reveal much about how they are able to help her in particular.

When you ask for case studies, make sure they’re relevant. Ask for those that are of businesses of a similar size, budget or industry. This will give you a more in-depth idea of whether this PPC management agency is the right match for you.

2. Are they Microsoft qualified?

Some agencies have achieved qualifications from Microsoft.

There are two main types of Microsoft certifications to look out for: a Microsoft Ads Accredited Professional, and a Microsoft Partner.

A Microsoft Ads Accredited Professional is someone who’s gone through the training that Microsoft offers and passed the exam.

Although these qualifications are a bonus, they’re not everything.

All it takes to become qualified is a simple exam that’s not timed. You can start and come back to it any time you wish. And if we’ve learned anything from school, it’s that just doing an exam does not prepare you for the real world. Experience always wins.

bing stats

A Microsoft Partner requires a little more experience. It’s basically a way of distinguishing those businesses that have been through an extra level of exclusive training. According to Microsoft, this is awarded to: “the most qualified Agencies, Channel Partners and Technology Partners in the advertising industry”.

So, this is a definite plus to look out for in your PPC management agency.

At Adzooma, we’re proud to be one of the selected companies to achieve the Microsoft Partner status alongside our certifications as Google and Facebook partners.

3. What services do they offer?

This is the part where you find out exactly what the agency can offer your business.

Part of this is making sure that they’re a match for what your company needs. But, this is also about looking at the bigger picture. Right now, you want someone to manage your Microsoft advertising. But is that all you will ever want?

If your business grows, will you want to expand to Facebook advertising? Google Ads? Or even more?

If your agency offers all these services, you can be assured that they’ll be able to help you grow and create cross-channel campaigns to take your business to the next level.

If your agency offers all these services, you can be assured that they’ll be able to help you grow and create cross-channel campaigns to take your business to the next level.

That’s why our PPC management tool works with Google Ads, Facebook Ads and Microsoft Advertising. So, with just one easy-to-use platform, you can manage and optimise all of your online advertising accounts.

opportunities screenshot

4. Are they a PPC strategist or an account manager?

Not every PPC management agency is the same. There are two fundamental types of PPC manager: a PPC strategist and an account manager.

A PPC strategist is someone who doesn’t just know their way around PPC accounts, but actively seeks out ways that they achieve new goals. If there’s an update, they know about it. If there’s something that they haven’t done before, they’ll research it. They’ll do whatever it takes to make sure you always get the best from your accounts.

This also includes not just focusing on your Microsoft Ads, but looking at the entire customer journey. Is there something that’s tripping them up? Are your adverts leading customers to pages that aren’t right for your campaign?

This is something a PPC strategist will look at and give you recommendations on how to improve your results.

On the other hand, an account manager focuses only on managing your accounts.

That’s the limit. If there’s something they can’t do, it’s not offered to your company. They can be rather set in their ways and use what they see as tried and tested experience to offer you results. They’re experts at PPC but will leave the rest of the marketing up to you.

I think this quote from Disruptive Advertising hits the nail on the head:

“An account manager sticks to what he or she knows. A strategist is always learning.”

If you want someone who’s just around to dot the i’s, cross the t’s and take care of the admin you don’t have time for, you need an account manager. But if you want someone who’s constantly looking for opportunities to improve your business and get better results from your campaigns, you need a PPC strategist.

5. How much do they cost?

This one should be pretty straightforward. Find out what the fees are for your agency and how much it would cost your company to have them manage your campaigns.

Not in your budget? They’re not right for your company. That’s it. End of story.

That was a quick one. Let’s move on.

6. What are their T&Cs?

We’ve all signed up for something without looking at the terms and conditions. Life is just too short to read pages and pages of legal documentation for something that should be pretty straightforward.

terms and conditions

But there are some places where you really can’t skip the T&Cs. This is one of them.

You need to make sure you know exactly what you’re paying for and get the absolute peace of mind that you won’t be trapped into a contract that’s not right for you.

For example, some agencies might try and lock you into long-term contracts that just aren’t right for your company. Or even create clauses which means you have to give them a payout if you decide that it’s not working for you.

It’s a nightmare. This is also the reason why we don’t do contracts at Adzooma. You can cancel at any time, with no cancellation fees.

7. What is their customer service like?

Excellent customer service makes a difference.

It’s an important element not to be overlooked. After all, everyone wants to feel like they matter. That you’re not another client that will just be swept under the rug and forgotten about.

It’s about making sure that you build a strong, trusting relationship between your business and the agency. That way, you can work together to achieve better results.

Customer service can be a hard one to judge until you’re working with the agency. But the way that you initially interact with them should give you a good enough indication of your future relationship.

Another great way is to look at any reviews left by past clients. If they’ve got a lot of positive and glowing reviews, it’s safe to say their customer experience is pretty good.

Not sure on what to look out for? Try to answer the following questions:

  • Will you have regular meetings or calls with them to be updated on how your campaigns are doing?
  • Will you be sent reports and data to keep on top of your results?
  • How approachable is your agency? Would you feel comfortable contacting them as and when you needed them?

Manage your own PPC ads with the right tools

Don’t think an agency is right for you? Luckily, you don’t need to be an expert to run your own Microsoft Ad campaigns.

It doesn’t matter how much experience or knowledge you have so far. There are dozens of tools, tips and platforms out there that you can use to your advantage. From beginner essentials to in-depth solutions, there’s something that’s bound to be a right fit for your company.

Ready to save time, effort and money running your own Microsoft Ads? Here’s our checklist of essential questions to ask to ensure you’ve got the right solution for you.

tool checklist

1. Does it save you time?

This is the most important question you can ask about PPC management tools.

It is their fundamental purpose. If it doesn't save you time and make it easier for you to manage your ads, there isn’t any point to it. None. Nada. Nil.

Look, this may seem harsh but it’s not. Why would you ever pay for or use something that makes your life harder? Let’s put this into perspective.

Say you’ve just bought a house. It’s everything you wanted, but one of the rooms is a horrible shade of baby vomit yellow. What you really want is some glorious mink grey walls to make the place seem like home.

Unfortunately, you aren’t overly confident in your ability to paint evenly and want a solution that will help get the results you want. So, you invest in some specialist brushes that promise to make easier, faster work of painting.

They’re half the size of normal brushes and take two days to paint the walls. Painting the room yourself would have taken a day.

The finish looks no different. So you’ve just spent an extra day completing the same tasks for the same results. Why on earth would you ever do that?

Still not convinced? Pick your choice out of these options:

  • A 5-hour walk in freezing temperatures or a 1-hour comfortable car journey?
  • Cut your grass with a lawnmower or with scissors?
  • Train a carrier pigeon to send letters or send a text message?

If there’s a faster or easier way available, you’d pick it every time.

If the Microsoft Ads Manager tool doesn’t save you time or effort, it’s not the right choice.

With the potential to save account managers up to 90% of their time, our platform may be the PPC management tool you’ve been searching for.

2. What features does it have?

This is where we get down into the technical nitty-gritty details.

Some of you will love this part. Some of you will hate it. But, you’re buying this tool because of its features, so you need to know what they are.

They have to match your company. Don’t be blindsided with never-ending lists of add ons that you will never use.

But remember to keep the bigger picture in mind as well. You need a tool that provides the features you need right now. But, one that will also support your future plans. One that will grow and scale – just as your business does.

Not sure what features you need?

Start by looking at how you currently manage your ads. Find out what processes you use often and which ones you struggle with. Look at what you currently waste time on and imagine a world where you didn’t touch those tedious tasks again.

Yeah, they’re the good ones to look at.

Take Lionel for example. He was running PPC advertising for his rustic and traditional barbershop located in the heart of Manchester. Lionel noticed he was spending a lot of time manually monitoring the current CPC of his campaigns and adjusting his bids when they got too high or low.

What he needed was a tool that could automate this process for him. That way, he could save himself an extra two hours a week to focus on more important tasks, like delivering razor-sharp cuts.

In a not-so-surprising turn, this is also one of the key features we’ve implemented at Adzooma. With us, you can set up custom rules in a few clicks and leave them to take care of themselves.

If you want to remain in total control, you can also set up custom alerts when a certain event happens for you to take action there and then.

automation screenshot

3. How easy is it to use?

Have you ever tried to do something, realised it was too hard and gave up?

It’s only natural. There’s no shame in it – it’s something we’ve all done. It’s not a weakness either. The fact is if you don’t know how to use something, you can’t possibly get the best from it.

You’ll only end up wasting more time trying to figure out a platform that’s just not right for you.

4. How much does it cost?

We covered this point earlier in this article. So, to reiterate: if it doesn’t fit within your budget, it’s not right for your company.

Compared to an agency, a PPC management tool is generally going to cost less, which means it’s more likely to be in your budget. But like with any expense, you need to think about the return on investment you’ll get from it.

automation screenshot

So, going back to our barber Lionel, he manages to save two hours a week using a PPC management tool. The two extra hours allow him to book in four extra clients worth £10 each. That’s £40 a week, or £160 per month.

The PPC management tool he uses costs him £50 a month. But with the extra £160 in income, this investment brings him a profit of £110 every month. Now, that’s worth it. For some businesses, you don’t need to pay for Microsoft Ads manager platforms or software. There are some free tools that may be enough for what your business needs right now.

Some of them are within the Microsoft platform itself. For example:

  • Microsoft Ads intelligence tool. This is a keyword planning tool that lets you create keyword lists of up to 200,000 keywords. It also generates data on bid estimates, analysis and predicted CPC, helping you plan the right strategy for your campaigns.

  • Microsoft Ads remarketing tools. For those that are new to remarketing, this is where you target users who have already been on your website or even added items to a cart – but didn’t complete the process. So, if a customer hasn’t converted the first time, Microsoft Ads remarketing gives them a chance to convert the second time around. To get this data, all you have to do is add a Universal Event Tracker (UET) to your website. This starts tracking what users do on your website, helping create the perfect remarketing lists for you to use.

  • Microsoft Ads editor tool. This is a desktop app that allows you to make changes to your campaigns, even when offline.

Looking outside the Microsoft platform, there are also other free tools to take advantage of. This includes websites like Answer the Public.

When you type a keyword into this website, it uses search engine data to return the most asked questions. For example, we just entered the keyword ‘hand sanitiser’.

We got back a list of searched questions such as:

  • What is the best hand sanitiser?

  • How does hand sanitiser kill bacteria?

  • Does hand sanitiser expire?

And so on. This gives you a pretty good snapshot of what users are actually searching for – and what terms might be useful for your campaign.

5. What is their customer service like?

If you’re having a problem with the PPC management tool, how easy is it for you to contact a support team member for help?

Some companies will assign you your own dedicated account manager. They will be there to help get you set up on the platform, ensure you know how to use it and be on call if you’ve ever got a problem.

If you think you’ll need an extra hand with the platform, it’s useful to find a tool that offers this as a feature.

bing stats

6. What data or reporting tools do they offer?

Data is one of the most important things that you need from your Microsoft Ads manager tool.

This is something I’ve said before. And I’ll keep on saying it because it’s true. Data is essential for your campaigns. It’s what gives you the knowledge, insights and answers about what is working and what isn’t.

No matter how good your campaigns are, there will be parts that don’t work. Adverts that are clicked less than others or cost your business more. This data lets you find them and make intelligent decisions to test better, more profitable ads.

The tool you’re using needs to make this data easy to access and understand. That means reporting features that make it easy to gather and compile the data you need – exactly the way you want it.

Otherwise, you’re blinding yourself to the true potential of what your campaigns can achieve.

Ready to find the perfect Microsoft Ads Manager?

We have just the solution for you.

And excuse us for being excited, but this is something that we think you’ll really love.

Let’s list the key reasons why Adzooma might be the PPC advertising platform you’ve been searching for:

  • You can cut hours of tedious manual work from your PPC management with our automated rules feature. If you want to remain in total control, you can also set up alerts that keep you in the know so you can react right away.
  • Our platform is powered by machine learning and intelligent AI, which analyses your accounts 24/7 to identify opportunities to improve your results.
  • Most of these opportunities can be applied in a single click, all from inside the Adzooma platform. The power is 100% yours to control.
  • Keep on top of your data with our reporting feature. This allows you to easily create custom reports in minutes, which can be saved as templates that will automatically update as and when you need it. It will save you hours of painstaking number-crunching.
reports screenshot

It’s not just for Microsoft Advertising either. Adzooma is also fully compatible with Google and Facebook Ads with the ability to add as many accounts as you want. So, Adzooma is ready to grow and scale exactly as your business does.

We want this platform to be helpful for businesses of all sizes. That’s why we offer a number of different price packages depending on how much you want to spend on your advertising. There’s no long-term contracts and you’re free to cancel at any time.

But don’t feel pressured to buy. Take your time and figure out if Adzooma is right for you, by trying it for free today.

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